COMMENTARY: Johnny Depp's Victory
The famous actor did it. He convinced the jury in Virginia and won the dispute. Amber Heard now has to pay him 15 million. But what does it actually mean and what can we expect to happen now that we know the verdict?
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Everyone who has seen movies like Dead Man, Blow, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street or Public Enemies knows that Johnny Depp is a top-notch actor. He is simply one of the best of the best. In order to get here, he had to walk a difficult path. He handled everything with honesty, it didn't just fall into his lap. Everyone who has seen him play the guitar, also knows, that he is a talented musician.
These are the things that made us fall in love with him. The Pirates of the Caribbean star has millions of fans around the world today, and rightly so. Although, as we have seen in recent years, many of them can become uncontrollably aggressive, especially on social meida, even though they only know him from videos, interviews and movies.
None of us saw what was happening behind closed doors
None of us knows the actor personally, nor can we claim him to be our friend. And none of us saw behind the bedroom doors. Nevertheless, even before any lawsuits began, Amber Heard was receiving threatening messages, and was called a liar. Some even wanted to kill her later.
It is time to ask if it is okay and where we, as a society, are. It is fascinating and sad at the same time to watch how people in today's "internet age" can come together to insult, humiliate and condemn a person. However, this applies to both parties. Amber Heard and Johnny Depp went through hell. The actress herself began the first wave of accusations that sparked a hostile media war, that literally buried the "darling" Depp. Heard was also greatly helped by the reverberation of the #MeToo movement.
And while those who believed that Depp was indeed a rapist were definitely less numerous, after several specific accusations, even the most loyal fans of the famous actor had to wonder - what did he actually behave like under the influence of alcohol or drugs? Was he the monster often brought up in court later on? Was Amber Heard hit? And what if not just once?
He wanted to tell the truth, regardless of the final verdict
When Depp lost the first lawsuit in Britain, many knew, it would be the unofficial end of his career. Even if the producers and bosses of large companies may have been convinced that Depp was innocent and Amber Heard's accusations were false, they had to turn their backs on him and cut off cooperation with him, as not to lose money and become the target of human rights laws organizations and activists.
Depp suddenly lost everything he had been building for years. He decided to defend himself again and, as he said at the beginning of the trial in Virginia, USA, the only thing he wants is the truth, regardless of the outcome. He sued his ex-wife for 50 million and tried to clear his name. This time in front of the cameras in the courtroom. Since the whole dispute was broadcast live and everyone could watch it, he opened his private life up to practically the whole world.
He admitted that he was not perfect, but made it clear that he had never hit a woman in his life. He admitted that he often behaved inappropriately, that he was addicted to various substances and alcohol. After all, threatening, even scary text messages or videos where a drunk man smashed glasses in the kitchen clearly showed everyone that he was no angel. If you watched the whole process closely, you can't deny that there were moments when it didn't really look good for the actor, after the statements of either Amber Heard or some of the witnesses presented by her team.
However, the testimony of Amber Heard's sister - Whitney Henriquez - proved to be a turning point. She was the only one before the jury and under oath to testify that Depp allegedly struck Heard in the face before her eyes. However, she admitted that Heard also hit Depp. Many supporters of the actress, known mainly from the comic book film Aquaman, certainly expected this to be a nail in the coffin for Depp, and stronger testimony will not be heard in court.
After all that the actor's ex-girlfriend Kate Moss testified. She clearly refuted the rumor that Depp had thrown her down the stairs, which Amber Heard had presented as the truth in one of her testimonies. Bryan Neumeister, an expert in digital forensic analysis, also testified. He confirmed that the photos in which Amber Heard had bruises and which were presented in court as evidence had been modified in a photo-editing software, which questioned their authenticity.
Depp's legal team caught Heard lying several times during the trial. Depp's lawyer, Camille Vasquez, also forced Amber Heard to admit during the cross-examination that she did not send the money to charity after the divorce, as she had promised. It was also found, for example, that the set of color concealers from the Milani brand, which the actress allegedly used to cover bruises, did not even exist at that time.
What now? Will there be another trial?
To sum it all up, quite honestly, before the verdict was delivered, I thought Amber Heard would win. Precisely because of her sister's strong testimony and also because I thought Amber Heard's emotional play will affect the jury so much that they will eventually prove her right, despite all her lies. Also because, after all, a court in Britain once ruled in her favour and called Depp a rapist. Even so, I admit that I kept my fingers crossed for the actor.
After yesterday, I am very pleasantly surprised and at the same time glad that he managed to clear his name. But then why do I write about a small victory? Depp's lawyer, Benjamin Chew, said in his closing remarks to the jury: "We ask you to give him back his name, reputation and career." It's a bitter-sweet tearful win.
The part of the public that Heard had convinced will give hime the side eye, point him at him, and still consider him to be a rightfully convicted rapist. The things she accused him of, he will probably carry to his grave. In addition, they now have a 1: 1 win in court. It is therefore a draw and it can be assumed that there will be another lawsuit in which Amber Heard wants to clear her name.
Will he win an Oscar? Will we see Jack Sparrow again?
What interests everyone now is whether Hollywood will embrace Depp with open arms and the court's verdict will be enough to get him back into the old roles that made him famous and rich. No one knows if we'll see Depp on the screen again as Jack Sparrow. The question is also whether Amber Heard will not experience the same thing her ex-husband did, that is, whether she will not get a taste of her own medicine, with film companies cutting off all cooperation with her for good. She might be out of work for a few years.
It is also worth asking if Johnny Depp has a chance to win the prestigious Oscar, if he was legally convicted of raping and abusing Amber Heard. These things have bearing on decision making.
Either way, Johnny Depp's win sends a strong message to society and is incredibly important for victims in a similar situation. As Amber Heard previously claimed to represent all abused women, Depp has now shown that men have the right to defend themselves and may be victims of violent behavior by their partner or wife, even if it sounds humiliating or absurd.
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